Omicron sub-variant discussed by infectious disease expert
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Almost five million Britons are thought to have symptomatic Covid in the UK right now, the latest data from the ZOE Health Study suggests. The ZOE study has been collecting data on the general population throughout the pandemic. This resurgence in infections – driven by Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 – is providing a trove of data on the evolving profile of symptoms.
According to Professor Spector, who heads up the ZOE Health Study, “twice as many covid cases as common colds currently – the ratio has never been so high”.
Writing on Twitter, he drew attention to the warning signs that can help you tell Covid apart from a common cold.
Generally, Britons struck down with Covid are more likely to report fatigue, noted the professor.
Everyone feels tired now and then. But, after a good night’s sleep, most people feel refreshed and ready to face a new day.
But, if you feel persistently tired, despite a good night’s sleep, you may have fatigue.
The Covid symptom may therefore be apparent first thing in the morning.
Likewise, a sore throat is more commonly reported in people with Covid than a regular common cold, noted Prof Spector.
If you spot the above symptoms, “assume” it’s Covid, he wrote.
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In his latest YouTube video, he underscored this advice, suggesting what to do if you spot cold-like symptoms.
Prof Spector said: “Try and get tested if you can. If you can’t get tested, assume you’ve got a cold and stay away from other people until you feel better.”
The most common cold-like symptoms currently reported are:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Persistent cough
- Mild and severe fatigue.
According to the professor, Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are behind latest the surge in cases.
These variants are breaching the immune defences much more effectively than previous variants, he warned.
In addition to evading the immune defences, these strains are also “dampening them down” so you don’t get that inflammation at first to stop it, Prof Spector explained.
It must be noted that this does not render the vaccines ineffective.
The current virus may be more tranmissible but it’s generally resulting in a milder illness and the COVID-19 vaccines are largely to thank for this mitigating effect.
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Indeed, the “current vaccines protect against severe illness, hospitalisations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant”, notes the CDC.
The COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in the UK are:
- Moderna vaccine
- Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine
- Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
- Janssen vaccine (not currently available)
- Novavax vaccine (not currently available)
- Valneva vaccine (not currently available).
“You cannot usually choose which vaccine you have. If you book online, you’ll only be offered appointments for vaccines that are suitable for you,” says the NHS.
According to the health body, most people can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines, but some people are only offered certain vaccines.
- If you’re pregnant or under 40 you’ll usually be offered appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines
- If you’re under 18, you’ll only be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
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